Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

kelly-sikkema-1YeQl23dvJI-unsplash-200x300Facing charges of domestic violence in California is a profoundly serious matter that can impact every facet of your life—from your personal relationships to your standing in the community and future employment opportunities. The legal process that follows such accusations is fraught with emotional and legal complexities, not the least of which is facing your accuser inside a courtroom. 

Since most domestic violence cases involve intimate partners, there’s a strong likelihood that your accuser is someone you love or once loved. The rules of engagement with this individual are vastly different inside the courtroom than they were in your home. Understanding how to navigate these challenges with dignity, respect, and a clear head is crucial to ensuring you receive the best resolution possible for your case.

Understanding the Legal Implications of Domestic Violence Accusations

julian-myles-2YGrbLlbz6Y-unsplash-300x200There was a time in California when protections for domestic violence victims were admittedly lacking. Law enforcement appeared generally reluctant to get involved in domestic squabbles, often viewing it as a “private matter” between husband and wife–and when they did get involved, they frequently let the alleged perpetrator off with a warning if the injuries appeared to be minor or nonexistent. Victims often faced disbelief and apathy from the criminal justice system, with abusers escaping harsh punishment or even prosecution.

All that changed with the high-profile trial of O.J. Simpson in 1995. 

Despite the controversial outcome of Simpson’s acquittal, the trial put a spotlight on the issue of domestic violence, bringing it out of the shadows and into public consciousness. It sparked important conversations about victim blaming, power dynamics in relationships, and the need for stronger laws to protect domestic violence victims. California responded in kind with much stronger laws protecting the victims. Still, some would argue the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction, now unfairly implicating and penalizing the accused even before they have been found guilty. Let’s discuss this pivotal criminal trial and its overall effect on California’s approach to domestic violence today.

pexels-marcus-aurelius-4064229-200x300One of the most challenging and distressing situations a parent can encounter is being accused of committing an act of domestic violence against their own child. When the child in question is a special needs child with behavioral issues, the stress is compounded even more as criminal charges of child abuse may result. When you’re parenting a child with special needs, challenges can sometimes escalate into situations that are misunderstood or misinterpreted by outsiders. Even worse–sometimes a vindictive spouse or co-parent will level a false accusation against you, usually to prevail in a custody dispute. Either way, this accusation can feel like a double-edged sword, cutting deep into the heart of your family life and your relationship with your child, who requires extra care and understanding due to their unique needs. 

In situations like this, especially given the social stigma involved, it can feel like you’re considered guilty until proven innocent. However, the opposite is still true. While you might be subject to protective orders put in place to ensure the protection of the child, in the end, it’s still up to the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Let’s delve deeper into this sensitive issue and discuss what a defense strategy might look like.

Understanding California Laws on Domestic Violence

pexels-cottonbro-studio-4098369-200x300While domestic violence is a serious public health issue, and while the State of California rightfully implements strong laws to protect victims, there are also many instances in which someone may be unfairly accused of domestic violence. In fact, research has shown that in as many as 25-35 percent of all domestic violence cases, accusations made are either unverifiable by facts, made by mistake or outright fabricated. Unfortunately, when this happens, California law tends to err on the side of the alleged victims, drawing immediate guardrails around the accused as a precaution and causing significant life disruptions in the process.

Perhaps you’ve experienced this reality firsthand. Maybe your partner has falsely accused you of domestic violence, and you’ve found yourself removed from your home, hit with a protective order barring you from contact with your partner (and possibly your children), and perhaps even facing criminal charges–let alone being saddled with the public stigma of being labeled an abuser. Why do these accusations get made–and more importantly, what can be done about it to repair the damage to your life?

False Domestic Violence Accusations: Why and How

inaki-del-olmo-NIJuEQw0RKg-unsplash-300x200When we think on a fundamental level about domestic violence, we sometimes think in stereotypical terms based on our ideas of who/what an abuser is. Maybe we imagine an abuser as someone who has no job or no ambition; maybe in our minds, they’ve got mental health issues or are addicted to drugs and alcohol. 

But these things don’t describe you. By all accounts, you’re considered a success. You’re a noted overachiever. So, how is it that you’re under arrest for domestic violence? Why have you been served with a protective order? How could this happen? In your mind, you don’t fit the “profile” of an abuser.

And that’s where you’d be wrong. Domestic violence, an issue that plagues societies worldwide, has no singular face or definitive profile. It’s a complex and multifaceted problem affecting individuals from all walks of life, including those we often deem successful and accomplished. In fact, for high achievers, the pressure to maintain that success can even be a driving factor of violence.

pexels-pixabay-163431-300x200It’s a reality of life that couples sometimes disagree–sometimes even loudly. Sometimes, an argument can get out of hand, leading one to accuse the other of domestic violence. If you’ve recently been arrested over such an argument, and it’s your first offense, you might be able to explain it as a disagreement that went too far. But if this is not your first time being accused of domestic violence, but perhaps even the third or fourth, that suggests a pattern of abuse. As uncomfortable as it might be, it’s probably time to look at the underlying causes behind these behavior patterns. In many cases, if not most, it comes down to a need to exert power and control over your partner.

Power dynamics in abusive relationships can often be subtle and sometimes quite overt–but so prevalent is the dynamic of control in abusive relationships that California has even passed a “coercive control” law, which enables victims to seek a protective order simply by providing evidence of a “pattern of behavior that unreasonably interferes with a person’s free will and personal liberty.” The bottom line is that if you are a repeat offender, there’s a high probability that you have control issues regarding your partner. So, let’s delve into this idea and see what we can learn.

Understanding Power and Control in Relationships

pexels-mart-production-7699320-200x300When thinking about domestic violence, especially from the standpoint of criminal charges, we typically think of it in terms of the perpetrator (the defendant) and the victim (the accuser). But domestic violence spares no one in the families where it happens, and there are other victims to consider. As many as 90 percent of domestic violence incidents are witnessed by the children in the home, and these children are also victims of the violence, even if they are not direct victims of child abuse

Overall, the research is clear: Children caught in the storm of domestic violence typically carry the scars into adulthood, and the impacts frequently manifest in psychological and behavioral ways. The fact is, the children can’t help but be affected. The question is, how much does domestic abuse affect children? Does witnessing spousal abuse predetermine a child’s fate? Will they inevitably become either abusers or the abused in their adult relationships? Let’s look at this issue to see what we can learn.

The Psychological Impact of Witnessing Spousal Abuse

pexels-odonata-wellnesscenter-226166-300x206People tend to think of domestic violence in simplistic, one-way terms. There is an abuser, and there is a victim–and that is the case in many situations. But in reality, many abusive relationships are mutually abusive–that is, both parties are physically violent with each other. Multiple studies have revealed that up to 60 percent of relationships in which domestic violence occurs are mutually abusive. When both parties allege abuse, from a legal standpoint, the situation gets very complicated very quickly—especially during the arrest and investigation process.

So the question is, how does California deal with such cases? What happens when you and your partner accuse each other of domestic violence? Let’s explore the concept of mutual abuse in California, how it impacts the legal process, and what one can expect when faced with such accusations.

Understanding Mutual Abuse

pexels-rdne-stock-project-6003572-300x200Being arrested on domestic violence charges can be confusing, humiliating, and disconcerting, especially if it’s the first time it’s happened to you. But facing domestic violence charges a second or third time can be utterly demoralizing. The first time it happened, you were unsure of how you got here (perhaps you told yourself things just “got out of hand”), but you swore you wouldn’t find yourself in this place again. 

By the second or third arrest, it’s not as easy to discount the issue as a misunderstanding. One time could be written off as an anomaly, but multiple arrests indicate a pattern. Aside from needing experienced legal help to address the charges, the best way to keep this from recurring is to identify the patterns at work and look for ways to disrupt them. 

Recognizing Different Types of Abuse

pexels-photomix-company-887751-300x200If you’ve recently been arrested for and/or charged with domestic battery, stalking, or other forms of domestic violence, you already know what a disruption it can be to your life and your family. Of course, your first course of action is to navigate this process with the help of an experienced attorney–but when the initial crisis is over, your next most important step is to find ways to avoid a repeat incident. 

Fortunately, as with so many other problems in our lives, the digital age now offers solutions that we didn’t have even a few years ago. Let’s explore some technological innovations you can leverage to help you address the issues that may have caused this incident, move past this crisis, and, most of all, avoid future incidents.

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